Toronto

Elementary teachers with ETFO agree to new contract

Ontario elementary teachers voted overwhelmingly to accept a new contract with the province on Friday, ending months of negotiations that included a lengthy work-to-rule campaign.

Some 78,000 Ontario teachers had staged work-to-rule campaign earlier this school year

Ontario Elementary teachers agreed to a new deal with the province on Friday. (iStock)

Ontario elementary school teachers voted overwhelmingly to accept a new contract with the province this morning, ending months of negotiations that included a lengthy work-to-rule campaign.

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, which represents some 78,000 teachers across the province, announced 86 per cent of its teacher and occasional members voted in favour of the deal. 

ETFO President Sam Hammond admitted in a news release the bargaining had been "exceptionally lengthy and difficult," but said teachers won "improvements related to student learning conditions."

For example, the union said, school boards will avoid full-day Kindergarten/Grade 1 split classrooms. Teachers will also have the right to "use their professional judgment in the assessment and evaluation of students' learning needs," the union's statement continued.

Additionally, there will be a review of full-day Kindergarten staffing and class sizes, while Grade 4-8 class sizes will also be looked at.

"The Liberal government needs to focus its attention on elementary students," Hammond said.

"Class sizes in (full-day Kindergarten), junior and intermediate grades that are in line with those at the secondary level, and supporting elementary students with special needs, should be priorities for the government and school boards on an ongoing basis."

The provincial government reached a tentative deal with ETFO on Nov. 2. Teachers held a vote to ratify the agreement on Thursday night.

Financial details of the deal haven't been released at this time.

Education Minister Liz Sandals did say, however, that the deal meets the province's "net zero" approach — meaning any salary increases are offset through savings elsewhere.

Ontario elementary teachers had been without a contract since August 2014.

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